Mark Miller knows something about solutions. His role at Team One includes responsibility for uncovering insights, so that strategic ideas can better resonate in brand conversations. However, it’s also clear that he’s a relentless problem-solver and a transformational thinker who is not daunted by the untried, or the unproven.
One example is the recent positioning solution-- not only for advertising, but also for operations-- developed for The Ritz-Carlton brand. Miller explains that the hotel category routinely measures value in terms of the tangible benefits offered on property over the course of a fixed number of days and nights. However, he brought forward-looking ideas and global insight to the table to fundamentally change established thinking. The Ritz-Carlton would instead measure the enduring worth of the emotional experiences and memories that would stay with their guests long after they left the physical hotel. The hotel now engages with guests by asking them to let Ritz-Carlton stay in their lives, or simply: “Let us stay with you.”
“The reason I am particularly proud of the ‘Let us stay with you’ idea is that it was developed at a time when the relevance of luxury was being questioned globally by consumers, around the time of the Great Recession,” says Miller who understood that innovation and change in times of uncertainty ran counter to the inclination of hoteliers to stick with routine in times of high risk. Nonetheless he defied convention. “From a corporate perspective, it would have been easier for Ritz-Carlton to play by the established rules of the category. Yet, from a consumer perspective, for those who retained their wealth, luxury was only relevant and worth paying for when it promised something rare and special.”
To convince Ritz-Carlton of the viability of the idea, Mark Miller and his team needed to better understand the things that divided and united global affluent consumers. Since the global research they desired did not already exist, they had to create it. The result was the start of the Global Affluent Tribe hypothesis that would change the way Team One now markets premium brands to affluent consumers.
Mark Miller best describes his motivation as an Innovator: “I am, personally, driven by the belief that if we are not constantly looking ahead that we will be forever falling behind. And while it sometimes seems out of reach, I am very ambitious about searching for foresight even greater than insight in the strategic work that we are doing.”